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Chicago LPTV Station Sold

Liberman Broadcasting Inc. (aka LBI Media), the Burbank, CA-based media company that owns television and radio stations targeted toward Hispanic communities, is (now officially) moving into the Chicago market. Liberman has now closed on the purchase of Chicago's WESV-LP from Trinity Broadcasting Network Inc. The selling price, according to brokers Kalil & Co., was $1.25 million.

The sale began in February when Liberman Broadcasting purchased the WWTO-TV broadcast translator named W40BY. The deal was expected to be approved and closed within a few months, but finally happened this month.

Translator W40BY is now WESV-LP. The low-power digital television station is licensed to Palatine, IL, but will broadcast from the top of Chicago's Willis Tower.

Liberman will use the station to broadcast Estrella TV, a Spanish-language multi-cast network they own. WESV-LP's airwave range on Channel 40 is very limited. However, LBI Media expects to have Chicago's Estrella TV broadcasts picked up by the major cable & satellite television distributors at some point in the near future.

Estrella TV is now in 26 markets nationwide, including 21 of the top 25 Hispanic markets in the U.S. The Estrella TV lineup features musical-variety, comedy, drama, talk and game shows, as well as daily national news and magazine programs. With its own production studios in Burbank, CA, featuring five sound stages, LBI is producing about 56 hours of original programming weekly for Estrella TV, using talent from the US, Mexico and Latin America. LBI Media also has a library of around 5,000 hours of programming. It seeks to be an alternative to the imported telenovelas and programming shown on Telemundo & Univision owned stations.

The Chicago television market is the sixth largest Hispanic market in the U.S., representing more than 490,000 Latino TV households.

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